Red Bull KTM factory rider Jack Miller picked up a fifth place in the melee that ensued for podium places in the eleventh round of the Moto3 World Championship at the Czech Circuit of Brno on Sunday. The Australian rider for the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team slightly extends his lead in the overall standings and is now 23-points in the lead.
The race was won by veteran French rider Alexis Masbou who claimed his first victory in 133 starts. Second was young Italian KTM rider Enea Bastianini, while Husqvarna rider Danny Kent was third.
Miller, who has been on the podium six times and has picked up six pole positions so far this season was always in the mix for a top position. The race that saw no less than 16 riders in the lead group and less than 2 seconds apart as it went down to the wire.
The Red Bull sponsored athlete qualified in sixth place on Saturday in a session that was plagued with intermittent rain on parts of the track and where traffic was an issue in the closing stages as riders attempted to put in a fast lap time.
On Sunday the Australian quickly moved into the top ten in the opening laps and sat at around fifth to seventh place in the middle of the race. Then with a handful of laps to go and tension mounting as fast as positions changed among the top riders, Miller hit the front and began to challenge for the win. He lost out in the final corners as the bunch of riders charged the line, but with more than the race win at stake, he settled for fifth place just 0.217 of a second off the winning pace.
Miller did admit he had made a small mistake in the final fight for the podium places: “On the last chicane I had a good position, but I made a small mistake on the corner leading onto the straight and lost four places. The race could have gone better, but we should be happy because we have extended the lead in the Moto3 World Championship standings by two points.”
Commenting on Miller’s ride, Aki Ajo, team manager said: “I think Jack’s race in some ways went exactly as planned. He is a very smart rider and understands that there are many riders in the World Championship who can be up at the front, and knows that positions can change at any time. The most important thing is to remain consistent and today he was very intelligent, managing his tires, waiting and attacking at the right time. In some aspects it could have gone even better, but his lead in the standings is still increasing -so that’s positive.”
Factory teammate Karel Hanika, racing at home on the Czech circuit in his rookie season, also never lost touch with the large lead group in what was one of the hardest fought in the series. Hanika finished in fifteenth place but was only 1.8 seconds short of the winning time.
Miller and Hanika next compete at the Moto3 GP of Britain at the Silverstone circuit on August 31, 2014. They both ride the RC 250GP bike.
Moto3 Results Rd. 11 at Brno CZ
1, Alexis Masbou, FRA, Honda, 40:59.759
2, Enea Bastianini, ITA, KTM, 40:59.916
3, Danny Kent, GBR, Husqvarna, 40:59.946
4, Alex Marquez, ESP, Honda, 40:59.959
5, Jack Miller, AUS, KTM, 40:59.976
6, Brad Binder, RSA, Mahindra, 41:00.069
7, Miguel Oliveira, POR, Mahindra, 41:00.229
8, Efren Vasquez, ESP, Honda, 41:00.308
9, Alex Rins, ESP, Honda, 41:00.669
10, Isaac Viñales, ESP, KTM, 41:00.768
11, Romano Fenati, ITA, KTM, 41:00.801
13, Niccolo Antonelli, ITA, KTM, 41:00.950
14, Jakub Kornfeil, CZE, KTM, 41:01.568
15, Karel Hanika, CZE, KTM, 41:01.597
17, Francesco Bagnaia, ITA, KTM, 41:12.523
27, Eric Granado, BRA, KTM, 41:36.511
28, Hafiq Azmi, MAL, KTM, 42:04.156
DNF, Gabriel Rodrigo, KTM, 23:53.986
Moto3 Standings after Round 11
1, Miller, 169
2, Marquez, 146
3, Vazquez, 145
4, Fenati, 135
5, Rins, 125
6, Masbou, 117
7, Viñales, 96
8, Bastianini, 71
9, Oliveira, 71
10, Binder, 66
12, Kornfeil, 56
14, Bagnaia, 42
17, Antonelli, 21
18, Hanika, 20
26, Granado, 2
Image courtesy KTM Racing